LSU A Cappella Choir to Host Annual Candlelight Christmas Concert Dec. 4 at LSU Student Union Theater
BATON ROUGE – The LSU A Cappella Choir will host its annual Candlelight Christmas Concert on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the LSU Student Union Theater.
The concert – a one-hour, seamless and non-stop performance with no applause until the conclusion – is structured in similar fashion to the “lessons and carols” format used in many area churches and features the alternation of Christmas songs and carols by the choir with a narration of readings appropriate for the season.
In 1949, Dallas Draper, founder and conductor of the LSU A Cappella Choir, began one of LSU’s most cherished traditions with the annual Candlelight Christmas Concert. Since that first performance, this concert has become a popular and anticipated beginning of the Christmas season in Baton Rouge each year.
The concert always begins with a beautiful and inspiring candlelight processional by the chorus while performing music of the season. The “lessons” follow and intermingle with the music, focusing upon the universal humanistic themes of the season: love, peace, tranquility, family, and home. The readings come from a variety of sources including poetry, prose and even newspaper articles. The “carols” featured by the choir are a blend of traditional Christmas tunes as well as new pieces written for the season. The guest Narrator for the concert will be Ron Ross, former dean of the College of Music & Dramatic Arts. Ross is well known to arts patrons through his work as dean at LSU, as well as his active support for the arts throughout the Baton Rouge area and beyond.
This year’s concert opens with the familiar “O Come Emmanuel,” arranged by Robert Young, and “Gabriel’s Message,” by Joshua Swank for the candlelight processional. The remaining concert features traditional tunes such as “Silent Night,” “O Holy Night” and “O Come, All ye Faithful,” arranged for choir and orchestra by well-known English composer and arranger John Rutter. Other new Christmas works include pieces by composers Stephan Main, Mack Wilberg and Alice Parker. A festival orchestra of LSU Symphony players will accompany the choir in the performance. Narrations include readings by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Cagney Victoria Lincoln and others.
LSU A Capella Choir Conductor Kenneth Fulton is leading his final Candlelight Christmas Concert, as he is retiring at the end of this academic year. Fulton is the Sanders Alumni Professor of Choral Studies and chair of the Division of Ensembles and Conducting in the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts, and has conducted the LSU A Cappella Choir and taught undergraduate and graduate choral conducting, literature and methods, as well as guiding graduate degrees in choral conducting for the past 26 years. He has held two endowed professorships at LSU, been named as one of LSU’s Distinguished Professors and, in January 2006, was named to the Earleene Sanders Alumni Professorship, one of the university’s most prestigious endowed teaching professorships. He served as chorus master for the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus for 15 years and for seven years was artistic director and conductor for the Linz International Choral Festival in Linz, Austria, where he annually conducted performances with the Festival Orchestra and Chorus. He is editor for the Kenneth Fulton Choral Series, published by Alliance Music Corporation.
The LSU A Cappella Choir has achieved national and international prominence through its performances in many of the most prestigious and well-known performance venues in the world. This past summer, the chorus had a successful tour in Europe performing in Budapest, Prague and Vienna. In Los Angeles, in 2005, they were featured on the final concert session of the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association in the new Walt Disney Concert Hall with the St. Olaf Choir, the University of North Texas A Cappella Choir and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. During their previous six European tours since 1991, they have been invited to perform high mass in Notre Dame Cathedral and St Paul’s in the Vatican, as well as giving an invitational performance in the famed Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and the Mendelssohn Hochschule in Leipzig, Germany. Members of the choir have been named Rhodes and Fulbright Scholars, as well as twice winning the national Met auditions.
Tickets for the Candlelight Christmas Concert are $28 each for general admission; $19 each for faculty, staff and senior citizens; and $15 for students that present their student I.D. For ticket information, contact the LSU Student Union Box Office at 225-578-5128.
To learn more about the concert and about the LSU School of Music, visit www.music.lsu.edu.